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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, November 19, 2004
    Expectant
     
    Some friends ask me whether I do God on my days off. Well, on my days off I do all I can to get out of the way of bad religion; it's often unavoidable the rest of the week. But I'll happily do God if that means something like today - a 200-mile round trip, ending in an Iona family group gathering in Lymm, with hours well-spent in M62 traffic queues listening to Jeffrey John's stimulating Greenbelt talks on The Meaning in the Miracles, and largely featuring a pleasant afternoon doing Greenbelt business with Henry at his home in a green and sheltered spot of south-east Yorkshire.

    I enjoyed a long linger around his bookshelves, rich with all manner of wonderful writings, and one tiny tome I found there I shall be ordering post-haste: Expectant, which is Jim Cotter's book of verses for Advent. He's written a verse for each day of December until Christmas Eve, modelled on the ancient hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel, which you can sing to the familiar tune as you go. It's beautifully produced and Jim's words, as ever, are vibrant and surprising - just as Advent itself should be:

    O Come, O come, thou living word,
    and pierce our hearts with healing sword,
    from God's own mouth proceeding far
    to lance the fest'ring wounds of war.
    Rejoice! Rejoice!, To mend our strife
    shall come in flesh the God of life